We have to help him.

I had a conversation about my dad’s current situation with my 4 year old yesterday.

I don’t remember how my dad came up… something about going to see him in the future or going to Legoland or Disneyland or something??

Anyway, it went something like this:

Me: Well… we can’t go see him because grandpa is in jail.

AJ: Why is he in jail?

Me: Because he had a fight and he bit someone.

AJ: Who put him in jail?

Me. The policeman.

AJ: And we have to tell the policeman to take him out?

Me: No, grandpa has to stay in jail because he did something bad.

AJ: So we can’t see him because he’s in jail?

Me: Yeah.

AJ: But why did the policeman put him in jail?

Me: Well, when you have an argument with someone, are you supposed to bite them?

AJ: No…

Me: That’s right! We talk it out. Well, grandpa got very angry and instead of talking, he bit someone.

AJ: And he was bleeding?

Me: Yes.

AJ: A lot a lot a lot?

Me: Probably.

AJ: And biting is bad?

Me: Yes.

AJ: So that’s why he’s in jail for a long long long time?

Me: Yes.

AJ (Getting teary eyed): ….  We have to help him!

I was surprised that AJ wanted to “help” his grandpa get out of jail. I guess family is family?

In all seriousness, I don’t think he quite gets the concept of criminal activities and jail and lawyers, etc… but wow.. that little kid. The hubby and I always joke that he’s going to bring us a lot of heartache but there’s this compassionate side of him that amazes me. I made a voice recording of the end of the convo so I could remember the moment in the future. And I guess blogging about it helps too?

In my recovery group, we talk about helping others as if it was a bad thing. It’s linked to co-dependency and we talk a lot about boundaries and self care and detachment… and a lot of people attribute it to having grown up with alcoholic parents. But I think that’s not the entire truth. What’s wrong with wanting to help others? Service gets such a bad wrap. All the messages in the world says looks out for number one. But Jesus said to lose your life to gain it, right? I mean, I get it. I can’t give to the point of resentment. But the desire to help someone, to rescue them, the desire itself is not wrong. It’s only wrong if you are doing it to serve yourself. To get something in return. Or to manipulate them afterwards. Even a four year old gets that…. I think.

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Ponderings

Learned recently that someone I know passed away.

This person… I was full of judgement towards this person. I barely had one short conversation with this person but I judged them based on their looks and the behavior that I saw. What I didn’t know was this person’s story. This person had had more than their fair share of life’s troubles and tribulations. This person had major health issues, that I couldn’t tell by looking. Full of judgement, was I. Towards this person that I was called to love.

Maybe I am being too harsh on myself? But one of my words for the year was “not judging.” That year, I started to become aware of how much I judge people. Before that year, I really thought I wasn’t all that judgmental. I’m thankful that God only reveals my sinfulness in little bits… so that it’s not too overwhelming.

I have told myself that if my father or mother died, that I would not be too affected. This death has made me reconsider. We don’t have a great relationship, my father and mother and I. I am OK with it. I have learned not to go to the hardware store, expecting candy. But maybe I’ve gone too far in the other direction. Maybe I’ve put up walls instead of boundaries. Maybe I’ve hardened my heart towards them just a tad bit too much. Maybe I can start by being open… and letting my heart grow soft again.

This praise song has been on my mind. I can’t seem to get it out. Have you ever heard it? It’s old school I can’t seem to find a good version on YouTube but here are the lyrics.

 

Face to Face by Mark Altrogge

Jesus, I love you. For when I was blind and lost.

You shed for all your enemies, your blood upon the cross.

Because you have loved me, now I can love you to.

Your love flows deep into my heart and I send it back to you.

And Jesus, our love will only grow much deeper.

Sustained from above by your overflowing grace.

And Jesus, our love will only grow much sweeter.

And someday we shall be together, face to face.

 

Truly, because God has loved me, now I can love him too…

Christian Answers the Proust Questionnaire

I’ve been following Julie’s lovely documentation of her children answering the Proust Questionnaire and thought it was a wonderful idea. I’m copying her. In case you are new, Christian is my son and he’s five years old. He’s turning six on the 14th though. SIX! In FOUR DAYS!

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Having to be with my mommy and daddy.
2. What is your greatest fear?

Dragons. (We just read a book about dragons today. I guess he got scared.)
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? (Julie had great explanations of terms that kids could understand and I copied those too.)

Be mean to somebody automatically.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
When like they boss me around.

5. Which living person do you most admire?
My friends.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Having 600 dollars.

7. What is your current state of mind?
Very having fun.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
When people think someone is funny when they do something cool but it’s not.

9. On what occasion do you lie?

When I do not want somebody to know when I did something that’s not good.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Cuz me and my mom are not the same.

11. Which living person do you most despise?
SKIPPED

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
I like because they sing rock and roll.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Because they look pretty.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Mom and dad and AJ.

16. When and where were you happiest?

At the airplane museum.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?
Being a good spinner of blay blades.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Not having fun.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My birthday getting to be soon.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

SKIPPED

21. Where would you most like to live?
At a house that has stairs and lots of guns that are toys.

22. What is your most treasured possession?
Toys.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Somebody’s not being nice to me.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
Coloring.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?
Cuz some of the people have pee pees and some of them don’t. (Pee pee = penis at our house.)

26. What do you most value in your friends?
Loving.

27. Who are your favorite writers?
Dr. Seuss.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Spiderman.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
SKIPPED

30. Who are your heroes in real life?
Daddy.

31. What are your favorite names?
Pablo. Cuz it starts with a p.

32. What is it that you most dislike?
Not winning games.

33. What is your greatest regret?
I wish I played greatest I could in my soccer game.

34. How would you like to die?
SKIPPED

35. What is your motto?
I can do this.

********************************************

I love the last one. I can do this! =)

You’re Not Mad?

Today my son AJ (3 years old) did something that he does every once in a while. He spilled milk. All over his table. It was his high chair table, and there is a ridge, so none of it spilled out on to the floor or onto him. It was quite a bit though, about 1/3 of a cup?

Normally when the kids have a big spill, I get mad. I yell. I say “WHY DON’T YOU BE MORE CAREFUL?” Of course, it’s not really a question. I know it’s not their fault that they spill (ok, maybe a tiny bit?). That they are just young children and that their motor skills aren’t finely tuned yet. And that even adults spill. But it’s my default reaction… to get angry.

However, today, I did something different. I did not get mad. I just said something like, “Oh no, you spilled the milk. That’s ok. Accidents happen.” I don’t even know why I didn’t get angry. I just didn’t.

And then Christian (5) said, “You’re not going to get mad?”

As in, “I was expecting you to get mad.”

I felt sad to hear him say this. Sad that my son was expecting me to get angry. Expecting anger instead of grace from his mommy.

And I felt good at the same time. That I hadn’t gotten mad.

I was surprised that I felt so good. Instead of angry, I felt full of grace. I felt like a good mother.

I made a note to myself to react more like this in the future.

And I hope that my kids aren’t so surprised when I react with grace in the future.

– Mary

 

 

Total side note: During this small “ah-ha moment” I was reminded about that scene in Mad Men when Don’s wife #2-to-be (you know, the pretty Canadian secretary) casually cleans up when Don’s son spills milk at the restaurant. And Don is so impressed by her. And the kids are impressed by her. And all is well and the world doesn’t come to an end just because there is milk all over the table.

Yay air freshener.

So, I go to Al-anon. There is a meeting on Sundays that I like going to sometimes. They have a room that kids can play in, with a TV and video, and videos! And toys. It’s right next to the meeting room, so it’s kind of awesome. Sometimes, other people bring kids too. But the room, it has an awful, awful smell. Like someone vomited in there. Or the room has B.O. (body odor). The room has really really bad BO.

Today, I grabbed my bottle of air freshener on the way to the meeting because I had both kids in tow and didn’t want them to have to smell that smell the whole time. It’s a huge bottle of Fabreeze. I got it for free a long time ago, because I blog over at Kimchi Mamas and sometimes, people like to give bloggers free crap.

When I got into the room, I sprayed like 20 squirts of the air freshener. I hoped it would do the trick. I popped in a video and the kids were content. About 10 minutes into the meeting, my older son comes out and tells me that his stomach hurts and that his throat feels funny. He proceeds to vomit all over the (thank God) vinyl floor. It starts to stink really really bad. Way worse than inside that room. Someone thankfully brings me a whole bunch of napkins. I clean up the vomit (it’s a LOT) and am SO glad that I have the air freshener with me because I spray the heck out of that room. It doesn’t smell like vomit anymore and we can have the meeting in relative peace.

I have no idea why today, of all days, I decided to bring Fabreeze to my meeting. But I am SO glad that I did because it would have been sooooooooooooo gross (more gross than it already was) if everyone had to sit through the entire meeting with the stink of vomit vapors filling the room.

Thank you God.

Back from a mini vacay

Family took a little vacation to SoCal this past weekend. We had lots of fun but I am kind of tired now. I’m so glad that the cleaners are coming tomorrow.

We had lunch with my dad when we got there, and then dinner with him right before coming back. I’m not sure if having dinner with him is a good idea anymore. At least during lunch, he drinks but doesn’t get belligerent. During dinner, he got pretty faded and started nagging me. I hate when he nags me. Mostly because it’s the same stuff over and over again… just like drunks do.

One thing he said kind of hurt my feelings. He said if I don’t teach my kids Korean, don’t even bother bringing them to see him anymore. I know he was drunk but it doesn’t really make me feel better to know this. Anyway, I have been trying recently to let my children see their grandfather more… but maybe that’s not such a good idea. I mean, unless he gets sober, what really is the point? To make my dad feel less lonely? I doubt a few hours of face time with his kids will do that. And if he really wants, he can come up here anytime.

Anyway, I have very mixed feelings about all this right now.. but I just wanted to write it all down.